April 2017

Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture, Community
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Living Landscape Observer
Take Notice: Trending for Large Landscapes 
Every two years protected area managers, scientists, and experts in cultural and natural heritage gather at the George Wright Conference to present papers, engage in lively discussions, and swap professional gossip at the bar.  The 2017 conference in Norfolk, VA titled Connections across People, Place and Time was a ripe opportunity to spot emerging ideas in the field of large landscapes conservation. And I am happy to report there was a lot to learn! Prominent themes included strengthening the connection between management of natural and cultural resources, highlighting the importance of urban green spaces, and recognizing the significant and long-standing contributions of indigenous communities to the field.   Read the full story here.

United States celebrates World Heritage Sites 
The The World Heritage Convention is the most widely accepted international conservation treaty in human history. Most Americans don't know the foundational role that the United States played in its inception and the role that the United States continues to play today. Adopted by UNESCO in 1972, the convention was founded on the American national park idea and its combined conservation of cultural and natural sites. The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is an essential advisor to the World Heritage Program. US/ICOMOS founded in 1965, was the first of the national committees.

This year to celebrate World Heritage Day on April 18 US/ICOMOS launched a web album highlighting the outstanding universal value of the 23 sites in the United States on the World Heritage List. 

What's in a Name? 
Public lands in the United States go by a variety of names: Parks, forests, monuments, historical parks, recreation areas, seashores, refuges and more. Though confusing to the public (and even, at times, to agency employees!), each appellation has a "genealogy" of sorts, a history that, if traced, offers insights into the goals and motivations of those who initially pushed for the creation of different types of protected areas. I recently visited a few "National Reserves," and began to wonder when that term first came into use. Read more.

Latest News and Information 

Landscope Chesapeake This mapping application reflects the conservation goals of the Chesapeake Partnership around the resources of farms, forests, habitat and heritage. (A new map reflecting health goals will be dated soon)  What's next for the Partnership's mapping and analysis? Looking at the factors that might influence our collaborative goals: things like growth and development, climate, etc. We'll have more information in the coming months.  Take some time to explore this rich new information.

Battle over Public Lands  A lot is being written about the future of our public lands. This New York Times article explores the topic in a way that beautifully illustrates what is at stake. 

Indigenous Cultural landscapes  Want to learn more about  one of the most innovative ideas in landscape conservation? T he National Park Service has created a resource page with all the most recent studies and it is a great source of information.

Department of Interior Secretary Zinke is directed to review national monument designations over the past 21 years. The order is crafted to encompass monuments such as Grand Staircase-Escalante (1996) and Bears Ears National Monuments (2016)  in Utah. Both of which are large landscapes that have drawn objections from many Republicans and specifically the Utah congressional delegation.

Editors note: The LLO looked at the debate over National Monuments in an earlier issue, providing some historical context to this at-times contentious issue. 

About Us

The Living Landscape Observer is a website, blog and monthly e-newsletter that offers commentary and information on the emerging field of large landscape conservation. This approach emphasizes the preservation of a "sense of place" and blends ingredients of land conservation, heritage preservation, and sustainable community development. Learn more about how you can get involved or sign up for the newsletter here.  

Our Mission: To provide observations and information on the emerging fields of landscape scale conservation, heritage preservation and sustainable community development.